Climate Psychology

Can we use psychology to create sustainable behaviour?

What is climate psychology?

Psychology is the study of why we behave the way we do and what it takes to change our behaviour. Climate Psychology takes this knowledge and applies it to the problem of climate change.

Ducky works with Climate Psychologists to get a better understanding of what drives environmentally friendly behaviour. Our products are created with expert knowledge, making it easy to change habits.

Why is this super important?

Like all important innovations there are early adopters or frontrunners who are exploring more sustainable lifestyles. The real challenge lies in getting the majority of the population onboard with the lifestyles of these frontrunners.

The climate psychologists gives us concrete information about the barriers early adopters face, and how we together can simplify the process for the majority of the population.

Three important aspects are to demonstrate that frontrunners are “people like us”, to show how new lifestyles can be simple, and to show that their new lifestyles actually contribute to make a difference.

Everett Rodger’s Innovation adoption curve (1962). trying to convice the mass of a new idea is useless. Convince innovators and early adopters first.

Theory of behaviour change

What we do as individuals is a combination of three factors:

1. Our Attitude

As teenagers most of us have been accused of having an attitude. What we should have responded is “Of course I have an attitude; how else would I decide what’s best to do!”. Our attitude affects our behaviour. However, behaviour also influences attitude. For example, if you recycle you are likely to feel that this is important for the climate. This behaviour encourages good environmental attitudes.

2. Our Influence

Influences from other people are important to us. If your neighbours acknowledge your electric car then they are more likely to choose likewise; especially if you communicate the benefits. In time this can change entire communities.

3. Our Choice

Our ability to make climate friendly choices are affected by our environment. You are more likely to change your habits if it’s easy to do and the benefits are obvious. If there are no convenient charging stations you are less likely to buy an electric car.

All these three factors influence our intention of doing something, which again is the next step towards a new behaviour (Ajzen, 1991). Psychology has identified many more factors. Many of our daily decisions are for example done by force of habit, without even thinking about them. This often makes them difficult to change and needs a push.

Our Involvement in Climate Psychology Research

IKEA Start at Home

Awareness

Working with IKEA Norway and one master student at NTNU the impact of informing individuals about sustainable lifestyle at the-moment-of-decision was researched. We used these results to improve our sustainability marketing tool.

Pollution Pods

Communication

A climate art installation during the Starmus Festival in Trondheim in 2017. The pods allowed participants to experience the air quality and pollution of five major cities – Trondheim, London, New Delhi, São Paulo and Beijing. The goal was to study the psychological effects of climate art and climate communication. Ducky uses climate psychology to support the way we communicate climate change.

NORDICHI

Engagement

From 2014 to 2016 Ducky, along with NTNU and Friends of the Earth Norway, took part in the People’s Climate Research and examined the environmentally friendly activities Norwegians want to implement in their everyday life. We learned how best to engage users and trigger action. This was successfully presented during NORDICHI 2016. Read the abstract

See your impact

Use our research-based carbon footprint calculator and see your impact. It’s easy to use and free.